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Safety, sharing come into conflict in Raleigh park

Posted September 11, 2008

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— Officials removed a collection of toys left in a city park, believing they created a hazard. But some parents say the city took away a fun tradition that helps children learn how to share.

Parents whose children play in Roanoke Park in Five Points said they leave toys in the park so that other children can then enjoy playing with them.

"It's a beautiful, community tradition," parent Kathryn Schiller said. "It teaches kids about sharing and just about being part of a community."

The Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department has begun removing the toys from Roanoke Park. The toys present a potential hazard, and if someone is hurt by them, the city could face a lawsuit, parks officials explained at a community meeting Wednesday night.

"Those things range from pails and shovels to playhouses," Parks Superintendent Wayne Schiendler said.

Some parents, though, said they do not understand why the toys could be a problem.

"I don't see a potential hazard," Schiller said.

Both city officials and parents have agreed to work toward a compromise.

"We need a solution fast, because nobody's going to the park anymore," Schiller said.

Schiendler said six to eight parents will be invited to discuss the issue with members of the Parks and Recreation Department in the next week. If they can come up a solution, the committee will present it to the City Council's Public Works Committee for approval.

"I think we're going to work through some potential options," Schiendler said.

38 Comments

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  • WRALSUCKS Sep 11, 2008

    The "safety" issue is just an excuse.

    Don't these city departments have something important to do?

  • BottomLine Sep 11, 2008

    Take your junk home people - the city should not have to clean behind all these self described do gooders ... Think of the folks who don't have kids and want to enjoy the park without piles of garage sale leftovers. Surprises me that this is news.

  • uglytruth Sep 11, 2008

    "The tradition of bringing toys to Roanoke Park has been ongoing for more than a decade."

    Ah-ha! So basically this "tradition" has masked a bigger problem for over a decade, and perhaps one that the City CAN address: the need for a wider age-range of playground equipment. Sand tractors and diggers permanently mounted in the sand; shorter climbers and slides for toddlers; toddler swings?

    Thomas Brooks playground in Cary is a good example, and yes, parents bring sand toys for their kids to play with in the park, but they DO NOT LEAVE THE TOYS BEHIND!! I'll never agree with the toy dumping. Parents should teach their kids to clean up, especially in public places.

  • mamarhonda Sep 11, 2008

    The tradition of bringing toys to Roanoke Park has been ongoing for more than a decade. The toys are inspected on a regular basis and rotated out when no longer in usable condition. The City cites safety as a concern, but please explain how a little tykes car which you peddle by foot is MORE dangerous than the monkey bars at the park? The neighborhood is filled with small children and there is not adequate equipment at the park to serve their needs. The primary reason people took their kids to the park was to play with the toys. Those kids are always supervised by adults and the City has admitted there have been no reported injuries.

    The Parks and Rec Department went overboard in their imposition of this policy. The policy they posted states that no foreign objects are allowed in the designated play areas. So, taken literally, there are no basketballs allowed on the basketball court and no pails in the sandbox. It's a bit draconian.

  • trainloadr Sep 11, 2008

    This is a situation of some people not feeling like taking their old things to the dump and just carrying it to the park and leaving it there for someone else to worry about. You should always leave things cleaner than it was before you got there. If you would like for the children to share and play on you childrens toys, then invite them over - dont take it to a public place and leave it there.

  • uglytruth Sep 11, 2008

    "The kids used to call it "car park". Last weekend I drove by there with my 6 year old and he said "we can call it boring park now daddy""

    Oh, boo hoo! Here's an idea: let you kid bring his own toy car or truck to use in the sand! And his friends can bring their own trucks. See? Fun for all!

    AND when its time to go home, they can play the "clean-up" game by gathering their toys and taking them home!

    It's about teaching your kids that you don't treat public spaces as your dumping ground. If you use a public space, you are responsible for cleaning up after yourself so that others can use the space the way that it was meant to be.

    What do you know? That was a good lesson in sharing!

  • Just Once Sep 11, 2008

    Pretty sad we are even worrying about this. The ONLY reason it because of a bunch of lawyers will take any case that will put $1 in their pocket....and 20 cents in the clients.

  • slaterric Sep 11, 2008

    We have been taking our kids there for several years.
    The toys do get rotated out when they get too old so
    the argument about old toys being dangerous is not really valid.
    We will miss having all the toys but we were expecting this to happen.
    The kids used to call it "car park".
    Last weekend I drove by there with my 6 year old and he said
    "we can call it boring park now daddy"

  • piperchuck Sep 11, 2008

    "how about remove the lawyer who said this is a potential liability issue."

    But first you have to eliminate all the potential lawyers who will encourage the parents to sue when some kid gets hurt by one of the toys that the lawyer will assert Raleigh was responsible for since they allowed it to stay at the playground.

  • exit99952 Sep 11, 2008

    They shoudl remove the toys. Toys can be old and hurt kids. Many recalls on toys. Each parent should police the toys. But its almost impossible to be everywhere every second. The also teaches kids lack of respect for property.

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